Drumbeat: August 16, 2010

Herman Daly: Opportunity Cost of Growth

Growth economists recognize that we can’t have more of everything instantaneously. To get more of everything we must invest and wait. The opportunity cost of investment is forgone present consumption. But it is a temporary cost. Later we will have more of everything, and after that still more of everything, etc. Is there no end to this? Not for the standard macroeconomists. In their view it might be possible to grow too fast, but never to get too big. That is, the opportunity cost of investment needed for rapid growth might be too high in terms of forgone present consumption. But that misallocation is temporary and will soon be washed away by growth itself that will give us more of everything in the future – more consumption and more investment. That is the growth economist’s theory.

However, increasing takeover of the ecosystem is the necessary consequence of the physical growth of the macroeconomy. This displacement is really a transformation of ecosystem into economy in physical terms. Trees are physically transformed into tables and chairs; soil, rain, and sunlight are physically transformed into crops and food and then into people; petroleum is physically transformed into motive force, plastics, and carbon dioxide. Thanks to the law of conservation of matter-energy, the more matter-energy appropriated by the economy, the less remains to build the structures and power the services of the ecosystem that sustains the economy. Thanks to the entropy law, the more dissipative structures (human bodies and artifacts) in the economy, the greater the rates of depletion and pollution of the remaining ecosystem required to maintain the growing populations of these structures against the eroding force of entropy. These are basic facts about how the world works. They could plausibly be ignored by economists only as long as the macroeconomy was tiny relative to the ecosystem, and the encroachment of the former into the latter did not constitute a noticeable opportunity cost. But now we live in a full world, no longer in an empty world – that is, in a finite ecosystem filled up largely by the economy. Remaining ecosystem services and natural capital are now scarce and their further reduction constitutes a significant opportunity cost of growth.

Iran Enacts Law Mandating Enriched-Uranium Production; More Plants Planned

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced the enactment of a law that obliges Iran to produce nuclear fuel for its Tehran medical-research reactor, on the day the country said it will build a new uranium-enrichment plant.

More drillers in risky business

The search for oil and gas is getting riskier as better and cheaper technology lures more companies to new frontiers.

While BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill shows even the biggest international oil firms can make huge mistakes, smaller and less experienced companies are also encountering serious problems while drilling under challenging conditions.

Engagement with Iran

One important initiative that may fall victim to the flooding is the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project. Islamabad had recently announced that it would generate domestic funding for the project in light of intensified US and UN sanctions against Iran’s energy sector that are bound to discourage international investors. In the wake of the ‘super flood,’ economic collapse in Pakistan seems imminent, and Islamabad is scrambling to cut or divert spending to facilitate flood relief. It is unlikely that a multi-billion dollar energy project can proceed in this climate.

Gas stations will not roll back price hikes

The FECRA gas stations lobby on Saturday warned that petrol stations will not roll back price hikes and that for all the government’s threats to apply the Anti-hoarding Law to cope with the consequences of an energy crisis, it will be unable to sanction them because the fuel sector is not regulated.

“We will not roll back price increases,” FECRA President Rosario Sica told the Herald. “Rolling them back would mean more service stations closing down. Over the past seven or eight years Argentina has lost half its 6,000 stations and 50,000 employees have lost their jobs.

Kazakh oil minister: costs key to Kashagan Phase 2

ALMATY (Reuters) - Cost control should take priority when developing the second phase of the Kashagan oilfield in Kazakhstan, the world's biggest oil find in over 40 years, news agencies quoted Oil and Gas Minister Sauat Mynbayev as saying.

"It's linked more than anything to costs. We don't need to incur insane costs on the second phase," Novosti-Kazakhstan quoted Mynbayev as saying after a government meeting on Monday.

BP Spill Claims From 50 States Confront Administrator Feinberg

(Bloomberg) -- Claims from all 50 U.S. states confront Kenneth Feinberg as he prepares to tap BP Plc’s $20 billion escrow account for victims of the company’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

“The farther away you are from the Gulf and the Gulf shore the less likely it is that you will have a valid claim,” Feinberg, administrator of the fund, said Aug. 13 in a telephone interview. “But I will take a look at each claim.”

BP Pledges Angola, Azerbaijan Oil for $5 Billion Loan

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc is pledging oil sales from Angola and Azerbaijan to raise $5 billion of loans as it builds a cleanup fund for the worst U.S. environmental disaster.

The company is borrowing $3 billion backed by income from Angolan operations, lenders said, and $2 billion linked to revenue from the Azeri-Chirag-Deepwater Gunashli field off the coast of Azerbaijan.

Gulf of Mexico oil ops unaffected by storm threat

(Reuters) - Oil and natural gas producers have not cut back production in the northern Gulf of Mexico because of a brewing tropical storm threat, the companies said on Monday morning.

Leading U.S. Gull oil producer BP Plc said offshore operations managers were watching the remnants of Tropical Depression 5, which re-entered the Gulf overnight.

Gas plan leaves a sour taste in village

The residents of the picturesque North Yorkshire village of Thornton-le-Dale have sour-gas indigestion.

Moorland Energy, a two-year-old UK gas developer, wants to build a gas plant that locals say will ruin the view.

Petrobras Offering to Replenish Capital as Debt Rises

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil producer, said its plan to sell as much as $25 billion of new shares next month will replenish capital after debt rose to the upper limits of its target last quarter.

India may face shortage of coal

Mumbai: India may soon face a shortage of coal as more power plants are built and domestic production lags. Coal imports could go up sharply over the next few years inspite of large domestic reserves.

Companies building power projects are also acquiring coal mines around the world. In its DRHP filed with Sebi last week, Coal India says that there will be a shorfall of coal if all the ongoing projects where it has signed letters of agreement are completed.

The appetite for energy grows

Yet, current efforts won’t meet the country’s growing appetite for energy. The government estimates, for instance, that coal production will lag behind demand by about 100 million tonnes as of 2012, and India’s electricity-generating shortfall at present — more than 10 gw — is likely to worsen even if all power plants now under active consideration are built. The only choice is to pursue a number of sources of additional fuel, to further liberalise domestic energy markets and to upgrade the overburdened infrastructure. India must also attract much more private capital since government spending alone won’t be able to finance the billions needed for energy projects in the next five years.

Some PG&E customers want choice on SmartMeters

Joshua Hart does not want a SmartMeter.

But unless state officials and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. relent, he's going to get one anyway.

Alternative Energy: Will U.S. Lead or Follow?

(CBS) Imagine a future in which abundant energy could be ours, simply by harnessing the wind, or capturing sunlight, or tapping into the heat of the Earth itself.

Kunstler: Excerpt from "The Witch of Hebron"

The Witch of Hebron is the sequel to World Made By Hand, a story of the post-oil American future. It is set in and around the town of Union Grove, Washington County, New York. The time is several months after the action in the first book, the week before Halloween.

This excerpt concerns Stephen Bullock, the wealthy landowner whose plantation is home to dozens of people whose lives and livelihoods had gone adrift in the collapse of the American economy.

The Singularity is Near, A True Story About the Future Documentary Film by Inventor, Futurist Ray Kurzweil Makes International Premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival on August 31

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--“The Singularity is Near, A True Story About the Future,” by filmmakers Anthony Waller, Ray Kurzweil, Ehren Koepf and Toshi Hoo, with Executive Producer Martine Rothblatt (Terasem Motion InfoCulture), makes its international premiere on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at the 34th annual Montreal World Film Festival. A Q&A session with Ray Kurzweil and Martine Rothblatt will immediately follow the screening. The film is among 61 films competing in the Documentaries of the World category at the 12 day festival.

A champion of the environment, with roots in C.S. Lewis

Bill McKibben’s groundbreaking debut book, “The End of Nature,’’ appeared in 1989, while he was still in his 20s. Widely considered one of the nation’s top environmental journalists, he maintains a supersonic rate of activity. Besides his many books, he writes frequently for publications from Outside to the New York Review of Books and serves as scholar in residence at Middlebury College. In 2009, he founded 350.org, an international campaign to combat the climate crisis.

Signs of a tipping point in the debate with climate sceptics

THERE'S a lot of talk about ''tipping points'' in the climate science literature these days. It's an innocuous enough little phrase, implying just a nudge over the edge of something. But in climate terms, that step beyond the ''critical threshold'' is a doozy.

Researchers Race to Catch Up With Melting, Shifting Polar Realities

When the Petermann Glacier calved an ice island four times the size of Manhattan earlier this month, GPS sensors embedded in the ice and time-lapse cameras sitting on nearby rock were watching.

But scientists who put them there were caught off guard. Traveling to northwestern Greenland to retrieve the data that equipment recorded will cost them roughly $93,000, money they currently don't have.

That's unfortunate, says Jason Box, a climate scientist at Ohio State University who helped place those instruments, because the difficulty comes as his research team has made a startling discovery. Of the 30 widest glaciers in Greenland, it's the ones in the north -- where Petermann is located -- that are collectively losing the most ice.

Crude prices likely to rise on firm global demand

Peak Oil is the time when petroleum-extraction activity in the world reaches an optimal level. Thereafter, the rate of oil production enters a terminal decline. Peak in oil production does not indicate ‘running out of oil resources’, but means ‘no more availability of oil at economical prices’. However, the most debated question is: Does world hold adequate oil resources to meet its needs forever?

Sooner or later, the consumption of oil is going to exceed its supply. As of now, no qualitative substitute for crude oil exists in the world. Therefore, another concern is: When would oil resources go dry in the world ? In this article, we shall touch upon some of the main arguments on which such a theory is based, highlighting the impact of high oil prices on the global economy.

Oil hovers under $76 in Europe amid demand doubts

Oil prices hovered below $76 a barrel Monday as expectations for fuel demand in the second half of the year were undermined by weaker economic figures from the world's three biggest economies — the U.S, China and Japan.

Goldman Says Crude Demand May Have Topped Supplies as Tankers Stored Less

Global crude oil demand may have exceeded supply in the past two months as inventories stored on tankers fell to an 18-month low, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said.

“Now that floating storage has dropped to its lowest levels in over 18 months, we expect to experience declining onshore inventories in coming months,” Goldman Sachs analysts including David Greely and Stefan Wieler said in a report today. “Given that world demand tends to increase seasonally in the second half, we would expect the draw on world inventories to accelerate.”

Hedge Funds Cut Bets on Rising Gas by 23% as Prices Fall

Hedge funds slashed their bets on rising natural gas to the lowest level this year as prices fell, a sign the fuel may repeat last year’s 19 percent August slide during a so-far quiet hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico.

Hedge funds and other large speculators cut their bullish bets by 23 percent in the week ended Aug. 10, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission reported. Natural Gas has declined 13 percent this month, dropping to $4.303 per million British thermal units at 8:04 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Iran stock buildup 'not due to sanctions'

An increase in Iran's stocks of crude oil is a result of maintenance work at refineries at home and abroad rather than of international sanctions, a senior official was quoted as saying today.

Nigeria: Shell says pipeline sabotage increasing

LAGOS, Nigeria -- Royal Dutch Shell PLC warned Sunday that thieves in Nigeria's oil-rich and restive southern delta are increasingly targeting the company's crude pipelines, including at least three incidents of sabotage this month alone.

In a statement, Shell's Nigerian subsidiary said damaged pipelines near Bonny in Rivers state bore signs of drilled holes and hacksaw cuts. The subsidiary said the damage suggested that thieves - known locally as "bunkerers" - had likely tapped into the lines to siphon off crude oil to sell on the black market.

Nigeria: Govt Drags Chevron to UN Over Oil Spill

Asaba — The Delta State government has accused the Nigerian affiliate of the United States oil giant, Chevron Nigerian Limited, of insincerity in the recent oil spill in Warri, Delta State.

The state government also said it has invited the United Nations to carry out the detailed post impact assessment of the oil spill to know the extent of damage to the environment in the state.

Russia May Increase Oil Export Duties on Urals Price by 3.7% in September

Russia may boost its duty on crude exports by 3.7 percent for regular fields and by 8.3 percent for deposits with a discounted rate next month after prices for its Urals blend rose.

The standard tax rate may increase to $273.50 a metric ton ($37.31 a barrel) from $263.80 in August, according to Bloomberg calculations based on Finance Ministry data. The discounted rate for select eastern Siberia fields may rise to $87 a ton from $80.30.

Repsol teams up with RAK for Oman patch United Arab Emirates-based RAK Petroleum is set to farm-out a 50% stake in Block 47 onshore Oman to Spanish oil company Repsol.

Cnooc's Profit Growth to Exceed PetroChina's, Shell's as Oil Output Climbs

Cnooc Ltd., China’s biggest offshore oil producer, may post first-half profit growth more than double that of PetroChina Co. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc after selling more crude to meet diesel demand from factories and farmers.

Critics of China's energy use have ulterior motives

Along with China's rapid development, Westerners have raised the specter of the "China threat." Other assertions such as the potential threat of China's population, of China's grain production as well as China's military strength came in one after another, and now they came up with China's threat to energy.

China Approves 24 Power Plant, Grid Projects as Demand Climbs, NDRC Says

China, the world’s largest energy user, approved 24 power projects last month to help meet rising energy demand in the country’s less developed northern and western provinces.

Chinese investment in Myanmar tops $8 bln this year - data

(Reuters) - China has pumped $8.17 billion into military-run Myanmar in the current fiscal year, accounting for two thirds its total investment over the past two decades, official data showed on Monday.

Energy projects formed the bulk of the investment, with $5 billion in hydropower and $2.15 billion in the oil and gas sector of the reclusive, resource-rich nation whose neighours include economic juggernauts China and India, the data showed.

Iraq flows halved

Oil exports from Iraq's southern Basra terminal fell by more than today to 720,000 barrels per day from 1.728 million bpd the previous day due to maintenance on the offshore pipeline, according to reports.

Iraqi authorities move to block protests over electricity shortages

Baghdad - Authorities in the southern Iraqi governorate of Dhi Qar announced Monday that all public protests against the massive shortages of electricity in Iraq are outlawed, in the latest move to prevent such demonstrations.

Iraq flows halved The capital of the governorate, Nasariya, some 370 kilometres south of Baghadad, saw police go around in the early morning and use loudspeakers to inform the population that they could not attend a planned protest.

Indonesia to cut electricity subsidies - fin ministry

(Reuters) - Indonesia will spend 41 trillion rupiah on electricity subsidies next year, compared with 55.1 trillion rupiah in 2010.

Polish energy giant mulls sale of Lithuanian refinery

Vilnius - The chances of the Baltic states' biggest industrial concern, Lithuania's Mazeikiai oil refinery, being sold increased Monday after Polish energy company PKN Orlen confirmed it had hired international investment bank Nomura to advise on a possible sale.

Banknote lobbyist linked to oil-for-food

TWO of Australia's biggest corporate bribery scandals have overlapped with the revelation that a Reserve Bank of Australia currency firm engaged an Indian middleman implicated in the Iraq oil-for-food affair.

The agent engaged by the Reserve's banknote firm Securency - which is the subject of Australia's biggest foreign bribery investigation - is related to a senior Indian politician, Natwar Singh, and has been raided by Indian police in connection with suspect arms deals.

U.S. Senate ready for round 2 on drilling regulation

(Reuters) - Lingering concern among voters about BP's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico means that efforts to tighten regulations on offshore drilling will continue in the U.S. Congress even with the well plugged and the oil dissipated.

But getting major legislation passed will be an uphill struggle. With Republicans eyeing gains in the November 2 congressional elections, Democrats will face fierce campaign-year opposition on all major initiatives.

Oil driller has a perfect record, so far

NEW ORLEANS — The man with pinpoint accuracy who is drilling the relief well meant to permanently plug BP’s runaway oil well is looking forward to finishing his mission and celebrating with a cigar, a dinner party with his crew, and a trip somewhere quiet to unwind with his wife.

John Wright has never missed his target over the years, successfully drilling 40 relief wells that were used to plug leaks around the world. People along the Gulf Coast aren’t the only ones hoping he can make it 41-for-41.

Shrimpers Launch Gulf Season with Oily Unease

(CBS/AP) Shrimpers trawling Louisiana waters Monday in the first commercial season since the Gulf disaster don't know what dangers from the massive BP oil spill still lurk and what market there will be for their catch if consumers don't believe the seafood is safe.

Perhaps the biggest fear is that some fisherman might try to sell oil-contaminated shrimp.

BP spill puts Alberta birds at risk: expert

The massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could kill off some of Alberta's migratory birds, an Alberta bird expert fears.

By the time the oil giant managed to put a temporary cap on the damaged well in mid-July, the U.S. government estimated that 4.9 million barrels of oil had spilled since the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion that began the disaster in April.

Wind Turbines Are Coming to New York, and Not Just Offshore

For years, New York officials have envisioned powering the region from a set of huge wind turbines in the Atlantic Ocean off Long Island. But well before an offshore wind farm would be up and running, giant turbines may soon be spinning much closer to the city.

Within three years, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey hopes to have five wind towers, each more than 280 feet tall, operating on the west side of New York Harbor. Nearby, the City of Bayonne, N.J., plans to install an equally large turbine to power a sewage-pumping station. Meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs is considering placing wind turbines on or near its hospitals in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The Birth of a U.S. Wind Power Manufacturing Industry

Due to transport costs, the biggest, heaviest components were the first to be made domestically. Twenty U.S. facilities presently manufacture utility-scale turbine towers. Fourteen have come online since 2005 and eight more have recently been announced. Thirteen U.S. facilities presently make turbine blades, nine of which came online since 2005. Three are announced.

E.ON, RWE Threaten to Shut Down Nuclear Reactors Early, Spiegel Reports

E.ON AG, RWE AG, Vattenfall AB and EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG told German officials they may shut down nuclear reactors early if the government proceeds with plans for a tax on fuel elements and stricter rules, Spiegel reported.

For Lean Budgets, a Plug-and-Play Solar System

For eco-conscious homeowners who have considered a solar system for their rooftops but have found the cost and complexity daunting, Clarian Power thinks it has an idea.

The Seattle-based clean tech startup is developing a “plug and play” solar appliance called the Sunfish that will generate clean solar electricity for the home. “You bring it home and plug it in, just like a refrigerator, and it will cost about the same,” said the company’s president, Chad Maglaque.

Bypassing Resistance, Brazil Prepares to Build a Dam

Persistent opposition by environmental and indigenous groups, even with help from high-profile figures like the Canadian-American movie director James Cameron, failed to stop the $11 billion project, which will produce electricity for big cities like São Paulo while flooding about 200 square miles of the Xingu River basin.

Indigenous communities say the dam will devastate their lands and force about 12,000 from their homes. They say it will reduce the river level, destroying their traditional fishing industry.

The city of Altamira, above the dam, faces the opposite problem, with about a third of it to end up under water. Thousands of residents will be relocated.

Dongfeng to Invest 3 Billion Yuan in Hybrid, Electric Cars, Daily Reports

Dongfeng Motor Group Co. will invest 3 billion yuan over five years to develop alternative-energy and energy-efficient vehicles, the China Daily reported, citing the company.

Fly Fishers Serving as Transports for Noxious Little Invaders

For fly fishers who pride themselves on a conservationist ethic, it hurts to discover that they may be trampling on that ethic every time they wade into a trout stream.

Blame their boots — or, more precisely, their felt soles. Growing scientific evidence suggests that felt, which helps anglers stay upright on slick rocks, is also a vehicle for noxious microorganisms that hitchhike to new places and disrupt freshwater ecosystems.

That is why Alaska and Vermont recently approved bans on felt-soled boots and Maryland plans to do so soon.

Environment and Business Clash in Saint-Tropez

In Saint-Tropez, environmental measures may upend the business of spoiling the pampered.

Our great strategic error

Our resource base is formidable and expanding. But that bounty is fast becoming our Achilles’ heel. Our exports and domestic energy systems are carbon extensive, our per capita carbon emissions are amongst the highest in the world.

Our most vulnerable point is oil; we are about 50 per cent self-sufficient, declining rapidly unless new discoveries save the day, which seems unlikely. But peak oil, which may well mean a 20-30 per cent reduction in oil availability by 2030, is not even on the agenda of the major political parties.

Air-Conditioners That Run When Nobody’s Home

In apartments with utilities included, many New Yorkers have no qualms about running their cooling units when they are at work or even on vacation.

Sustainability Starts at Home

“The single easiest thing that anybody can do that can have the most profound influence on their life, their health, their wealth is to grow food at home,” said Jerry.

“Every plate of food you’ve bought from the supermarket will have travelled 22,000km to get from the farm to your plate. So immediately if you start to grow food at home, even if its potatoes, you are starting to cut food miles, fossil fuel emissions.”

Outdoors and Out of Reach, Studying the Brain

Mr. Braver, a psychology professor at Washington University in St. Louis, was one of five neuroscientists on an unusual journey. They spent a week in late May in this remote area of southern Utah, rafting the San Juan River, camping on the soft banks and hiking the tributary canyons.

It was a primitive trip with a sophisticated goal: to understand how heavy use of digital devices and other technology changes how we think and behave, and how a retreat into nature might reverse those effects.

Climate-Change Laws Won't Affect Demand for Power-Station Coal, AME Says

Laws aimed at combating climate change won’t reduce the burning of coal to fuel electricity generation, Michael Dixon, manager of business development at AME Mineral Economics, said at a conference in Brisbane today.

China and India will drive thermal coal demand with rising mining costs supporting prices in the medium to long term, Dixon said.

Clean energy can lessen Native suffering

Today's high energy prices raise the price of everything else shipped into the villages. With the high costs and lack of jobs, we are seeing a migration of people leaving rural villages for regional centers. Even older people are leaving. They have fixed incomes, so living in their traditional villages becomes too costly. This diaspora causes cultural disruption. Those younger people left behind in the villages have fewer culturally competent elders to guide them.

This global warming is alarming and causes great hardships for traditional people who love their ancestral homeland. The hardship being experienced can be lessened with the use of clean alternative fuels.

Nigeria: Govt to Fast-Track Green Energy Development Policy

Abuja — The Minister of Environment, Mr. John Odey, has said that the Federal Government is fast-tracking the implementation of sound policies to promote the development of green energy projects.

This is in a bid to arrest the dangers and threat posed by climate change to the country. Odey, who spoke on the renewed drive by government during a meeting with a delegation of the Green Energy Society of Nigerian (GESON) over the weekend, said as part of efforts to give vent to its renewable energy policy, the ministry had approved the execution of the Global Bio-Fuel Project as a candidate for the UNFCCC Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

Sceptics to challenge climate science in court

Climate change sceptics in New Zealand are taking the government's climate agency to court over the validity of its evidence on global warming.

The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition has accused the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research of tampering with official weather records to make the case for global warming.

Russian expert says abnormally hot summer – result of global warming

MOSCOW (Itar-Tass) - Abnormally hot and dry weather in central Russia is the result of heat waves caused by the global warming, the president’s advisor, Alexander Bedritsky, who currently heads the World Meteorological Organization, told a news conference on Monday.

He stressed that many reports and research works mention about “heat waves that are one of the signs of the global warming and now our summer clearly proves this.”

Australia: Planning Ahead For Sea Level Rises In NSW Environment and Planning Insights

The benchmarks set by the Policy Statement are an increase above 1990 mean sea levels of 40 centimetres by 2050 and 90 centimetres by 2100. These benchmarks are intended to support an adaptive risk-based approach by the proponent to future development and upgrading of existing development in vulnerable coastal areas, and to give the decision-maker dealing with development applications a framework on which to base its decisions.

It seems FedGov's EPA has issues with dust.

In its response (pdf) to a host of legal challenges brought against the Bush administration's 2006 standards for airborne soot and dust, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia refused to exempt the regulation of farm dust.
EPA had considered exempting farming and mining operations, but the agency ultimately decided it could not exclude particular industries.

Where this gets interesting is - if you have a tract of farmland and the WIND is the reason for the dust (not a human/human influenced 'thing') - is the property owner still responsible?

If so, Ag would have to change a whole bunch.

Well, I've burned my oil surplus for the year. Back from a trip to visit relatives in south GA.

That part of the country has changed a little since I was down there last.

A couple of things that made a huge impression:
The new construction for homes was all modern closed-in stick houses, even the newer farm houses. Not that I blame them for wanting to keep the swampy air outside, but I would have expected more brick/block construction than I saw signs of in the newer houses. Too expensive per SF compared to sticks and chipboard?

Everyone we ran into was friendly and tolerant of us wierd northerners ;)

I75 needs a good cleaning, there was a scary level of accumulation of blown semi-tires and other miscellaneous debris on the shoulder.

Not sure if this is a good deal or not, but Amazon's "Gold Box" lightning deal this morning is a Sunforce 50044 60-Watt Solar Charging Kit for $245. Available until 1 pm EDT, or they run out.


* Amorphous solar charging kit provides up to 60-Watts of clean, free, renewable power
* Designed for RVs, cabins, homes, boats, back-up and remote power use, and more
* Weatherproof, durable solar panels can withstand impacts from hailstones traveling 50 miles-per-hour
* Includes four 15-Watt solar panels with durable mounting frames, a 200-Watt power inverter, a 7-Amp solar charge controller, and a wiring kit with accessories for easy installation
* Built-in, ultra-bright blue LED charging indicator

sub -- Interesting especially if you're not on the grid. But it seems to calc about a 7 year payout. Not great but not nearly as bad as I've seen some numbers. I wonder if scaling it up 10X would bring the cost/watt down? I wouldn't bother with it to run one light bulb but if it can handle the whole house lighting or the fridge that's another matter.

But it seems to calc about a 7 year payout.

ROCKMAN, the system only costs $250.00 what do you mean 7 year payout? These are low efficiency amorphous silicon panels, meaning it is highly unlikely that they are actually producing the full rated 60 watts of the four panels combined at any given time. A 200 watt inverter might run a few LED lights a cellphone charger and your notebook computer if you are lucky.

If I wanted to run a refrigerator I go with crystaline silicon panels, a pure sine inverter and good bank of deep cycle batteries. Yes, scaling up about 10X should be about right to run small appliances lights and a fridge. You should be able to get a payback on such a system in less than 7 years.

I used $.10/watt. What would you use?


Harbor Freight has a similar system for under $200.00, I can get em for less but you still need a 12Volt battery. To be honest I think you are getting what you pay for it which isn't much.

Still it's probably a good introduction to very basic solar generated electricity.

The 200 watt inverter is very unimpressive, you can probably pick up a 400 Watt inverter from your local auto parts store for about 30 bucks. Buy an off the shelf polycrystaline PV 50 watt panel for about $150 and a cheap charge controller for another $30.00 So for a little over 200 dollars you can build yourself a much better system.

That's my 2 cents worth of opinion.

Makes a cheap science project. Someone gave me some of these kits from H Freight.
I used them for landscape lighting but don't plan them lasting long.
Don't think the charge controller is temp compensated or 3 stage so plan on
spending lots of $$ on Batteries, Save up and buy a crystal Si panel and a good
charge controller. Actually the Si Panels from China (Suntech, some others) are almost as good
as Japanese or American panels and are priced aggressively . You should be
making a 20-40 year Investment.

Boy, Russia can't catch a break. No wonder they think Obama has a climate weapon.

Force 11 gales buffet Petersburg as Russian heat wave comes to an end
by Andy Potts at 16/08/2010 11:45
The end of the scorching heat is far from the end of Russia’s weather problems as a cold front sweeping in from the north brought hurricane-force winds to Leningrad Region...
Not unusual

While hurricanes are normally associated with the tropics, and normally dissipate over cool water such as the Baltic or Barents Seas, these storms cannot be regarded as freaks.

Instead, Starkov explained, it’s a typical response to the end of a long hot spell.


. No wonder they think Obama has a climate weapon.

Chart the output listed here
With the storms (or lack of) and the irritability of others

Thanks for the HAARP link Eric, thanks for cluing us in on this grand Obama conspiracy.

Why yes of course, an antenna array in Alaska, disguised as something to study ionospheric physic and radio science and things like Aurora Borealis, is really to control the weather. It also causes earthquakes and all sorts of so-called natural disasters.

This conspiracy was begun in 1990 by G. H. W. Bush. Construction continued under another grand conspirator, Bill Clinton. It was completed in 2007 by his partner in crime, George W Bush. Now Obama has joined the conspiracy and is causing all kinds of havoc like global warming.

Americans are really dumb to think this has anything to do with science. It is to control the weather... for some reason or the other.

Err... Eric, why does Obama want to cause bad weather? Or is he causing good weather? If that is what he is trying to do then it is a damn failure.

Ron P.

Thanks for the HAARP link Eric,

You are welcome. Nice to see you not have a bigoted reply.

Why yes of course, an antenna array in Alaska, disguised as something to study ionospheric physic and radio science and things like Aurora Borealis, is really to control the weather. It also causes earthquakes and all sorts of so-called natural disasters.

Really - wow. Here *I* was thinking it was for communicating with subs after ELF was shut down.

This conspiracy was begun in 1990 by that grand conspirator, Bill Clinton.

Again, wow. Tesla's patents were 'bout 1915 for a transmitter that would "project electrical energy in any amount to any distance and apply it for innumerable purposes, both in war and peace."

Americans are really dumb

A common refrain on TOD.

Err... Eric, why does Obama want to cause bad weather?

So Ron can put up a straw man in posts on TOD. All from the thread of 'here is the output from HAARP - look at the output and compare it yourself to outcomes.' - you sure know how to stack that Straw Ron.

Eric, the statement was: ". No wonder they think Obama has a climate weapon."

And you responded with a HAARP link. The insinuation was obvious. Obama does have a climate weapon and it is called HAARP.

We don't need this crap Eric. The list Alasbabylon has pretty well shut down, they are getting about one post per day. I guess they ran out of conspirator theorists. I guess you want TOD to make up for their failure.

I doubt it but it will not be because you aren't trying.

Ron P.

The insinuation was obvious. Obama does have a climate weapon and it is called HAARP.

No, that is what YOU jumped to a conclusion of.

*I* posted a source of the output data from a project and ask that others who care see if the data matches the assumptions about the data. If the data set matches that'll make for an interesting discussion.

You opted to respond with Snark, so you got snark right back. Normally you like posting data sets - too bad you didn't opt for that this time. All you had to do was compare dates and events.

Me, I'm not invested in the opinion one way or another so I feel no need to make a data set.

We don't need this crap Eric.

The same can be said of your 'I am not a bigot' follower up a couple of days later with the 'Islam thinks this' "crap". Every few weeks someone posts how 'TOD is anti-Christian'. Every few months there is the anti-semite claim. In the last 7 days there has been a couple of days of 'Islam thinks this' and '72 virgins' and I expect that to increase as various parties play for position in the 'Iran sucks' game. It'd be nice if the religious BS was stopped cold like how most of the discussion of 9/11/2001 events are shut down. I expect most of the Internet to become a den of hissing, biting, swearfest if any of the 'X will be attacked on date Y' ever happens. It'd be nice if TOD would have already established a pattern of cutting off one topic of derision - religion.

Because most of 'em have ugly parts that you can trot out to paint 'em all as evil. And all its gonna do is generate heat without alot of light.

Edit: Perhaps you'll comment on RBM's 1st comment from April was on this topic.

The list Alasbabylon has pretty well shut down

Whatever that is.

the statement was: ". No wonder they think Obama has a climate weapon."

Yes, it was, wasn't it?

Top US Senator Assassinated As Obama “Weather War” Plunges World Into Chaos
Posted by EU Times on Aug 11th, 2010


The weapon is HAARP, Top Senator is Stevens. An example from Creative Writing 110A.. Advanced Conspiracy Theories.

Yes, Eric knew he was posting conspiracy theory BS. He thought that if he just posted the link and not actually mention HAARP, he could sneak it in. And apparently he succeeded.

Ron P.

He thought that if he just posted the link and not actually mention HAARP, he could sneak it in.

I posted a link to a location where one can get output data. I then mention all one has to do is then compare the outputs to the dates to back up any claims.

I note that you, Ron, just keep going with "conspiracy theory BS" rather than take the output data and compare it to events.

I'll be direct - man up and compare the data rather than the emotional appeal.

Americans are really dumb to think this has anything to do with science. It is to control the weather... for some reason or the other.

Ya think?


Thanks Fred, I could not stop laughing. The HAARP rainbow conspiracy. "This cannot be natural." God, that was the best line I have heard in years. Nothing happening to day can be natural. It is all caused by HAARP.

I sent the link to my son and everyone else I could think of. They will love it.

Ron P.


Something useful for the peon taxpayers from HAARP ?!

Thanks Eric didn't know we peon's got any bennies from that 'toy' !!

Look at it this way - you get a website and a dataset for all that cash.

A bit better deal than many of the projects.

(now goes back to the audit of a non profit to see how badly they have failed to comply with "the rules")

email from Matt Simmons' assistant:

Notification of Services Celebrating the Life of Matthew R. Simmons

Due to the overwhelming outpouring of sympathy and support, the Simmons’ family will hold two separate services to celebrate the life of Matthew R. Simmons; one in Maine for their Maine friends, and one in Houston for all other friends and industry associates.

The Houston celebration of Matthew R. Simmons’ life will be held on Monday, October 4, 2010 at 12:00 noon, at:

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Caroline Wiess Law Building
Cullinan Hall
1001 Bissonnet Street
Houston, Texas 77006

Matthew R. Simmons, 67, passed away on Sunday, August 8, 2010 on North Haven, ME.

In lieu of flowers the Simmons family requests contributions be made to Matt’s new vision: The Ocean Energy Research Institute, 91 Camden Street, Suite #401, Rockland, ME 04841. Alternatively, donations can be made online by following this link: http://www.oceanenergy.org.

For additional information please contact Judy Gristwood (jgristwoodAToceanenergy.org) or
Shelly Daughtrey (Sdaugh3687ATaol.com).

Thank you.

Kind regards,

Laura Russell
Office of Matt Simmons
Ocean Energy Institute

The Houston celebration of Matthew R. Simmons’ life will be held on Monday, October 4, 2010 at 12:00 noon ...

Seems an awfully long time into the future - very peculiar. Is everyone so important and busy it can't be scheduled at a more normal and reasonable time after his death?

I guess a lot of people who move in the kind of circles Mr.Simmoms moved in who will want to attend will need to rearrange long established appointments and spend a couple of days in hotels and on airplanes in order to make it.

From the Iowa link in "The Birth of a U.S. Wind Power Manufacturing Industry", up top:

Iowa ranks 30th among the 50 states in population and 23rd in square miles, but it is number two in wind -- and it wants more.

Iowa now has over 25,000 wind turbines and doubled its proportion of wind-generated electricity from 7% to 14% in 2009, the biggest jump in the U.S. Estimates put the current 2010 percentage of Iowa's electricity coming from wind above 17%.

Because Iowa added 879 megawatts of new capacity last year (enough to power more than 200,000 homes), the state's installed capacity is now second only to Texas. It has 3,670 megawatts of total installed capacity, enough electricity for 880,000 homes -- in a state with only 3 million people. And it has over 14,000 megawatts of wind power awaiting approval....

Governor Culver now says Iowa is ready to become an energy exporter. The next questions are whether the production expansion can be sustained and how big Iowa's wind manufacturing industry can get.

To sustain wind energy production growth, Iowa needs more and better transmission so it can export electricity. Kelley said he expects regulatory hurdles to be cleared and lines to be built in the near future.


Left out is that a lot of the exported energy is in the form of ethanol some of it made using wind turbine electricity to run the plants.

Just to play a bit of Devil's Advocate, has anyone thought about what the extraction of all that energy from the wind might mean for our environment? Could it possibly alter wind speeds, rain patterns or localized temperatures?
What might be the level of energy extraction from the wind that might begin to alter the environment?
I like the idea of wind energy, but I have heard no one talking about where that energy is currently going (being dissipated with what effect) and what effect it might have if it is removed to power our civilization?

Just to play a bit of Devil's Advocate, has anyone thought about what the extraction of all that energy from the wind might mean for our environment?


Could it possibly alter wind speeds, rain patterns or localized temperatures?

Not to any significant degree.

What might be the level of energy extraction from the wind that might begin to alter the environment?

The removal of energy from air flows of the scale conceived of in the next several centuries is going to cause no meteorological environmental effects. Apart from saving a load of CO2

I like the idea of wind energy, but I have heard no one talking about where that energy is currently going (being dissipated with what effect) and what effect it might have if it is removed to power our civilization?

Wind energy is, as you say, dissipated. 2nd law of thermodynamics: Entropy occurs, ordered wind energy becomes disordered and dispersed in the in the environment.

The amount of energy humankind can extract from the wind is negligible in relation to the vast overall amount of wind kinetic energy present in the atmosphere... Trust me, you have bigger things to worry about right now, like whether Pakistan can secure its nukes adequately, whether there are going to be any fish left for our grand-kids, where all the jobs went, and where you are going to get a rickshaw when you can no longer afford the gas for your car. That kind of thing.

Wind is truly not a problem to worry about unless you have eaten beans recently.

Wind is truly not a problem to worry about

Unless you have a save the bats/birds concern as one poster here on TOD had.

Nice nick-name Eric, I used to go walking in Sutton Courtenay, UK, and regularly paused to reflect in the churchyard by your namesake's grave. George Orwell's ideas are horribly relevant today, and one fears they will only increase in resonance in the future.

Any way what I wanted to say to the bat lovers against windfarms:

Screw the bats, if we really gave a rat's ass about the fluffy wildlife we wouldn't be using cars or eating meat, or using palm oil or a million and one other dumb things we do that destroy animals and habitats. We have already comprehensively demonstrated by our actions en masse as a society that we don't give a toss about bats or birds or any other creature. Those who worry about bird-strike on wind turbines should take a look at some of the really messed up stuff we already do.

Wind power is about keeping the lights on and assuaging our guilt about the fact that we have done nothing to address our excessive consumption of electricity. Electricity pissed up the wall on baubles and TV. Wind isn't replacing coal one little bit because as fast as we build the turbines, consumers buy more lawnmowers, hairdryers and electric foot spas and increase their energy footprint. Wind is supplementing our fossil fuel addiction, not replacing it. Wind could be green and great, if we actually reduced our energy consumption. But we don't, so anthropogenic global warming here we come!

Man, I feel doomerish tonight. Sorry.

Orwell's ideas are horribly relevant today, and one fears they will only increase in resonance in the future

Man's inhumanity to man Bayyyyy-beeee!

I feel doomerish tonight. Sorry.

1) If none of us had some hope for the future in some way we would not be posting the things we see/read here. (you can thank the Mistress of the Drumbeat for that observation)
2) Just put on some Kingston Trio - The Merry Minuet

Unless you have a save the bats/birds concern as one poster here on TOD had.

And that is not a valid concern. Windows, cars, and planes take out far more birds than windmills. But if you REALLY care about birds then you need to campaign against cats. Cats kill far more birds than windmills ever will.

Wind really is a great source of energy these days. With the really big turbines, it is getting inexpensive. The only issue is the intermittentcy and that can be dealt with using a smart grid and back-up natural gas turbines.

PLEASE do not start this conversation. We used to have it a couple of times a week, but its been mercifully absent for months (unless I missed it).

I believe the person who was pro bird/bat no longer posts here.

Perhaps they got caught shooting wind machine nacelles with hunting rifles.

Wind is truly not a problem to worry about unless

Now, I'll add some semi-quantitative reasoning to that conclusion. Ground level wind is at the end of a chain of momentum transfer from a kilometer or two up in the atmosphere. Possibly even from say 5 kilometers up. What is left for the ground based turbines is already pretty attenuated. Fluid dynamics types like to talk about a boundary layer, and a thing called surface roughness. Essentially all the turbines do is increase the effective surface roughness, so the drag on the midlevel winds is a bit higher than would otherwise be the case. Other anthropic changes are also affecting the surface roughness. Cutting down trees. Wisconsin especially by I would bet Iowa was covered by tall white pines until a century or two ago, when they were virtually all logged. The the surface roughness -due to these trees would have been a lot greater than we will be able to make it with a few WTs. (We are talking a few thousand WTs, versus many million trees). So our changes are not big in a historical context, and in essense partially replace that which was removed.

I believe that roughness and clutter is also partly responsible for the Rayleigh distribution of wind speeds observed. The same way that surface clutter is responsible for the intermittent nature of communications signals as in cellular reception strength, wind speeds will vary according to the maximum entropy principle.

It falls into the category of one of those things we have to live with. Entropy.

Entropy! Entropy!
No escaping fate for me!

As part of our ongoing reports on the status of the federal Transportation Bill, we bring you news that Ohio Senator George Voinovich – a Republican who is retiring this year – has called for a higher federal gas tax in order to fund the Transportation Bill. Here’s an excerpt from Sen. Voinovich’s letter, which makes a conservative case for the gas tax:

Multiyear transportation bill that is paid for would be a real economic stimulus and create immediate jobs. The Transportation Department estimates that for every $1 billion the federal government invests in highways and bridges, 34,800 jobs are created or maintained. Highway projects worth more than $47 billion are ready to go, according to state departments of transportation. …

"Residents Who Live Near Public Transportation Live Healthier, Longer Lives, Study Finds"


Lots of good stuff in here if you download the pdf of the report.

One stunner: "Although North Americans only walk an average of about 6 daily minutes overall, public transit users spend a median of 19 daily minutes walking, which nearly achieves the target of 22 daily minutes of moderate physical activity."

Six minutes? On average North Americans only walk six minutes a day?!!?

If memory serves, a study of Americans who moved from urban areas like NYC, and who once predominantly walked and used mass transit, to the 'burbs had measurably poorer health within a year or so of moving.

A classic study compared pairs of Irish brothers, one of whom emigrated to the United States and one of whom remained in Ireland. IIRC, this was sometime in the 1960s or 1970s. Typically, the brother in Ireland ate a terrible diet but had no heart or circulatory problems. The brother in America ate a much healthier diet, but still developed heart and artery disease. The fundamental difference was that the "average" brother in Ireland bicycled to and from work much of the time, and performed some sort of manual labor. The brother in America sat in a car and worked behind a desk.

I seem to recall reading that climbing ten flights of stairs per day, every day, significantly reduces the risks from heart disease.

Unless they misplace the remote. Then it's more like 8 minutes.

I wonder if the six minutes only counts walking outdoors. Most Americans don't walk much, except inside buildlings (and that is not much either).

Six minutes? On average North Americans only walk six minutes a day?!!?

Makes sense to me. Drivers:
House to driveway, a few meters and seconds.
Car door to gas station pump: same.
Car door to work: same

Public Transit:
At least public transit users have to walk a block or two or three from home to the bus stop, or transit station.
Then walking to the inter stop transfers.
Then a few blocks from the last stop to their work.

I contemplated my necessary walking time today, and even parked half a block away I have to do intentional walking to hit 10 minutes.

I doubt I walk for 6 minutes a day. If it's more than 100 metres to my destination, I get on my bicycle :)

Last time I had to walk home with a puncture I got blisters.

Last time I had to walk home with a puncture I got blisters.

I did not get blisters, but a string of flat tires irritated me enough to temporarily give up bicycling to work. Now I either walk, or use public transit.

FWIW, in this year I had done 1100miles of bicycle commuting. (Green enough!)

I now think that telecommuting from home is the easiest route to being a green worker.

Six minutes? On average North Americans only walk six minutes a day?!!?

There is always a joke at the Olympics that American athletes aren't much good at any race longer than maybe 400 meters because that's about the limit any American will walk at any one time.

Beijing Car Washes "drying up the capital"


Another "unintended consequence" of shifting to cars. I wonder if the Central Planning planners REALLY looked at the impacts and options.


Re: Air-Conditioners That Run When Nobody’s Home

Let me see if I can think how to phrase this question. Thinking just in term of a single day here...

Alternative A is to allow the living space to accumulate heat all day, then turn on the air conditioning when you arrive home and pump the heat out. Alternative B is to have the air conditioning run all day, pumping heat out over the course of the day rather than allowing it to accumulate. Assume the same thermostat setting in both cases. Does alternative A really use less energy than alternative B? If so, why? And what are the important variables? For example, walls and furniture and such have thermal mass, which must eventually be cooled. Is that a significant factor?

Does the answer change in a multi-household dwelling? If I share poorly-insulated interior walls/floors/ceilings with my neighbors? In that case, it would seem that if my neighbors all follow A, and I follow B, I'm pumping some of their heat as well as my own. Or if they all follow B, and I follow A, they're pumping some of my heat.

For a single family dwelling, I think that Alternative A will use less energy. That's because:

1. The heat flowing into the structure during the day is a function of the temperature difference between the outside and the inside. As the inside heats up, the flow of thermal energy decreases. Thus, there will be less thermal energy to remove when the A/C is switched on, and,

2. For an air-to-air A/C system, the efficiency is also a function of the outside temperature. Thus, if the A/C isn't working during the hottest part of the day, but switched on in the evening, the amount of electricity used will be less than that if it were to be run all day long.

3. If the home owner is really thinking, he/she could use fans to remove some of that thermal energy, once the outside temperature drops below the inside. Then, switch on the A/C and start with even less thermal energy within.

E. Swanson


I concur with your points 1 and 2.

Point 3 leaves me puzzled.

First there is a question about humidity and the effect on Sensible Cooling. Opening a window in a humid climate would only add to the energy consumed pumping condensate and only little cooling.

Second is that you are requiring that the homeowner endure the inside temperature until the outside temperature is below the inside temperature before turning on the fan. Don't think you are suggesting the fan be used before then. Or did I not understand your point 3?

Third, I think most average homeowners would object to waiting for "The Cool" after a long day at work (probably in an air conditioned work environment) and probably a commute home in an air-conditioned car.

3. If the home owner is really thinking, he/she could use fans to remove some of that thermal energy, once the outside temperature drops below the inside. Then, switch on the A/C and start with even less thermal energy within.

Point 3 leaves me puzzled.

This one made perfect sense to me, but that's because I live outside Denver -- above 5000 ft and semi-arid climate. A "muggy" day in Denver qualifies as "refreshingly low humidity" for most any place east of the 25-inch precipitation line in the Great Plains. With few exceptions, when the sun sets, the temps fall quickly. The whole-house fan typically cools the house into the 60s overnight. Then we close up in the morning and it's a race to see if the interior temp gets up to the A/C setting before things have cooled enough outdoors to open back up. The insulation is good but not great. The A/C seldom runs, usually only on days with no wind and no clouds, or if cloud cover the previous night kept temps higher.


Yes it now makes sense. Too bad we don't all have conditions like yours.

And in the southeast you don't open windows if you have AC because the dewpoint is 70 degrees.

Different climates, different actions make sense.

Given that there is some rate of air exchange between the inside and the outside of a typical building, the air inside the house is likely to have the same absolute humidity as that of the outside air if there is no A/C to remove the moisture. Opening the windows and switching on a fan would still cool the inside and would not increase the amount of water to be removed from the air once the windows were closed and the A/C turned on. From my experience, higher temperatures (near 80F) are not uncomfortable if the humidity is low...

E. Swanson

Opening a window in a humid climate would only add to the energy consumed pumping condensate and only little cooling.

I know of no air conditioner that 'pumps' the condensate. What design does this?


Pumps may be a poor term. Was thinking in terms of a heat pump in A/C mode. Normally we think in terms of pumping heat in or out. But the Latent heat in humidity is pumped out of the water vapor; thus producing condensate but no equivalent Sensible Heat. And if you don't have a drain convient, you need a pump to get rid of it (Little Giant pump).

yeah, there used to be indoor a/c units, which of course required a drain to waste the heat. another name for this might be de-humidifier.

now if they will just make these units with a fake iceberg screen(ala fake fireplace) they really will have something useless.

Energy is required to condense the moisture. "Pumps" isn't strictly accurate, but it isn't entirely inaccurate either in the context of requiring energy to take the moisture out of the air.

Point 3 leaves me puzzled.

Point 3 probably only applies to the dry heat experienced by roughly the western third of the country. Outside of that area, it can be ignored. Within that area it is a potentially valuable cooling resource. Having a msrt A/C system, which does the following whenever the outside air is cool(and dry) emough:
(1) Switch from refrigerated air, to exchange of air.
(2) Push the target temperature down so as to bank some cheap coolth, and delay the need for refrigerated air.
If these were built in to the A/C systems in these favorable regions, significant savings could be had. Otherwise, only a few hardcore energy savers (like myself) will apply the method manually. [I really get tired of doing it before summer is over]

Hi Richard,

There's also the issue of air leakage. A relatively "tight" apartment might have one full air change every two hours; however, I'm guessing most are closer to one or more air changes per hour. If the building is fairly tall and has elevators, the stack effect can crank things up a notch or two. Ditto pressurized hallways.


In addition, I would note that a good AC unit will circulate and filter outside air for you. It *is* the fan in an open window when the conditions are right.

6925 et al

Plan B has to continously remove heat whose amount is a function of the difference between the inside and outside air temps. Plan A always pumps that heat back out. Plan B A/C efficiency goes down with increasing Outside Air Temperature if it is an air-based unit. Heat based appliances work easier (i.e. refrigerators).

Plan A sees that in/out temp difference slowly decreasing. Plan B sees that heat being absorbed into the interior; but as the day goes on, that heat increase becomes smaller. Heat based appliances work harder (i.e. refrigerators).
Plan A A/C sees less efficiency loss due to being operated past the peak OAT. Thus Plan A is more energy efficient. Plan B does suffer from an uncomfortable house upon return.

How about a Plan C. Use a set back thermostat and increase the cooling setting when un-occupied. Set the time for a "short" time before arriving home. The increase of setting needs to be more than just a few degrees or else you are spending T'Stat money and not reaping much return on the investment. Plan C is probably the most palatible to Mr. and Mrs. Joe Average.

Summary: Can't make a case for Plan B.

But if you allow me to expand your Plans to include a multiple day(s) away from home, then the equivalent of Plan A or C (C done manually if the T'Stat cannot be programmed for it) would be best (assumes night time temperature is below T'Stat setting, thus night time cooling is in your favor; if not a good assumption then it becomes another one of those "It All Depends").

The heat gain is proportional to the delta between inside and outside temperatures.

Inside 78 F or left to climb. Outside 98 F. When inside gets to 88 F, only half as much heat flows into the inside.

Once inside = outside, no further gain. Cools to 89 F outside at 7 PM when you get home after shopping. Same as inside.

A/c runs more efficiently the cooler it is outside and the less it cycles, the more efficient (my evaporator fan runs for 90 seconds at half speed after the thermostat is satisfied just to extract that last bit of cold. Most do not).



Your case is correct in the conclusions.

But IF IN 8 HOURS, my house got to 88F from 78F, I would call my insulating contractor. Or else a house mover to move my house up north (Justin Wilson considered Shreveport as way up north!). LOL :>)

Inside 78 F or left to climb. Outside 98 F. When inside gets to 88 F, only half as much heat flows into the inside.

Its actually much worse than that. My offwhite exterior walls can get up to 140-150F in direct sunlight. Even shaded I've measure 115F from heat/light radiated/reflected off the neighbors house. Attics routinely get to 120F or above on sunny days. The daytime thermal load is strongly affected by the amount of sunlight, and exposure to hot surfaces radiating infrared.

These very strong heat loads can be reduced by shading structures, and vegetation like trees and vines. I think careful attention to "green" landscaping, and light colored paint can make a large contribution to reducing A/C loads.

These very strong heat loads can be reduced by shading structures, and vegetation like trees and vines. I think careful attention to "green" landscaping, and light colored paint can make a large contribution to reducing A/C loads.

Or using long overhangs or slotted overhangs that block the summer sun and let through the winter sun.


(I can't find a link to a slotted example alas)

"These very strong heat loads can be reduced by shading structures, and vegetation like trees and vines. I think careful attention to "green" landscaping, and light colored paint can make a large contribution to reducing A/C loads."

In the Spring we hang cheap deer netting from the gutters, stake it to the ground with garden staples and plant morning glorys & moon flowers. Annual cost about 10 bucks. Beautiful shade, and the Humming Birds love it. Put morning glorys on the east side, mix on the south side, and moonflowers on the west side. Very low maintenance and you get your solar back in winter.

Most likely you save some net consumption by not uses the A/C during the day as a bit less heat will be condicted in during the day. howevr I can think of some downsides:
(1) If the catchup period overlaps with peak demand, then the utilities peak demand may be increased.
(2) The A/C will probably work continuously during the catchup period, rather than on/off as with maintaining the temp. This may be less efficient (or perhaps more). Some older units may have a problem with icing up, and not running continuously is one way to deal with that issue.
Obviously as the period of unocuppancy approaches the houses thermal time (time to lose one over e of the temperature difference wrt outside) the savings from not cooling the unocuppied state becomes important. I think a programmable thrmostat, programmed with a minor setback (2-5 degrees) for the period on unoccupation might make sense. An agressive setback probably has too great an effect on peak loads.

A hell of a lot of people believe the cheapest thing to do is leave the ac running, and convincing them otherwise is very nearly impossible.

This belief is thoroughly mistaken of course-anybody who knows a little something about basic physics knows better, so long as the electricity price is held constant, of course.

Everything else held the same, the most energy efficient way to go is to turn off the ac whenever you can.

This can cause peak load problems without a doubt,because everybody's ac might all turn on and run more or less silmantaneously at 4pm in your town, but we don't so far have a peak load problem here.

I use seriously oversized window units, permanently mounted in the walls rather than windows.When I turn one on,the room is livable within five minutes,and comfortable within ten, even if it was a hundred outside all day.When I leave the room,and expect to be gone more than fifteen minutes, I turn it off.

We are not niggardly with the ac;we just don't waste it.When Momma was still with us and able to get around in the house,even if only because we pushed her around in a wheel chair, we left all the (same) units running, with the interior doors open, for her, and we used typically two to four hundred more kilowatt hours per month during hot weather.

We do find it much to our advantage to open windows and run a fan at night thru the early morning hours lots of times;it can be in the nineties here during the day but in the high sixties or low seventies from ten or eleven pm until a couple of hours after daylight.After such a night, with the house well cooled, and buttoned up again around six to eight am, the inside temperature will still be fifteen degrees to twenty degrees below the outside temp when it hits the mid to high nineties in the mid afternoon.

For those unwilling or unable to follow my system,the easiest solution, and the cheapest, on flat rate prices, is to get a programable timer/thermostat that will simply turn on the ac unit or system in just the nick of time so the house will be comfortable when you come home from work or wherever.

Disclaimer;I am not an engineer but one I know personally says my basic understanding of this problem is right on the money.

A key point you point out is to have spare HVAC capacity -- my upstairs will never come close to catching up on 103F days if it's off at all during the afternoon. Downstairs does much better.

Not all AC is the heat pump. A well designed unit can handle outside air circulation when appropriate at no more cost than the circulating fan.

Mind you, most AC units are not that well designed. And most people don't want to come home to a 90+ degree house when the outside temp is 93 like it has been for the last week.

The "leave it on" myth has been around many years and applied to many things besides AC(cars, trucks, lights). In every case I can think of studied, it has been proven false. Something turned off uses NO power, turning it back on may require extra power to catch up, but that extra power will never exceed the power saved while off.

In fact I can't think of anywhere it is true, maybe a coal fired steam engine if only out of service 6 hours at night.

I have no doubt that turning the AC off (or at least adjusting the thermostat up) in any building not in immediate use saves energy, the math is indeed indisputible.

I have more of a problem with allowing extreme temperature and humidity shifts in my home simply because I have to share it with animals, family, and wooden furniture and musical instruments that wouldn't take radical shifts well.

I agree. The dog, the piano and the guitars would not fare well here in the Phoenix area without a modicum of A/C during the day. However, using a programmable thermostat which is set to drop the temperature in the wee hours of the night results in an efficiency advantage since the coefficient of performance (COP) is greater when the temperature difference is less. "Coolth" is then absorbed by the floor slab and the walls, and lasts a good while in the morning, delaying the time when the A/C kicks on again.

(Oh, and being retired, I too am home most of the day with the dog.)

I believe if costs are a factor, then all the residents pay more for a residence where the A/C runs throughout the day unattended, due to peak-load kW costing more.

My reasoning on this is:
A. If no smart meters are being used, and kW meter just shows accumulation, then no advantage to the resident to run A/C peak or off-peak.

B. If smart meters used, then they would save money to used a timed thermostat that only starts the A/C about an hour before they get home, therefore hopefully avoiding peak-load pricing during the day.

From the Archives
Oil Rigs In Deep Water - The Miami News - Aug 20, 1962

HOUSTON, Tex. (AP) — Millions of dollars are being spent on new drilling equipment designed lo push offshore oil operations into deeper water.

One project calls for a floating platform to operate at depths of 600 feet or more. Its developers say experiments indicate it will withstand hurricane force waves and winds.

300 FEET Shell Oil Co. and the Blue Water Drilling Corp. have had an all-weather floating platform in operation off the Louisiana Coast the past year. The rig now is drilling in nearly 300 feel of water, the deepest depth so far for the Gulf of Mexico.

Shell announced this week the 242-foot vessel operated successfully through winter storms with waves of 28 feet and winds of 63 miles an hour.

Shell said the drilling vessel is using a new method of completing offshore wells by remote control from the surface. The new technique was developed by Shell at a cost in excess of 7 million dollars.

Shell officials said the floating platform and the remote control equipment make it possible to find and produce oil from the open sea regardless of distance from land and depth of water.

Shell officials said the floating platform and the remote control equipment make it possible to find and produce oil from the open sea regardless of distance from land and depth of water.

Great! What could possibly go wrong? There must be lots of undiscovered unknown reserves in the Mariana Trench, maybe they could go test it there.

Don't forget that this story was published 48 years ago. I seem to have to point that out a lot with these archival items!

After the Santa Barbara spill in 1969 the gov made a big deal of pointing out how clean their noses were - the MMS had a figure proudly displayed on its website of something like a 98% success rate over the decades in containing platform spills. All of that went down the drain with Macondo. It was like they had one of those signs saying Four Decades Without a Workplace Accident.

Tankers are another story of course. Those things are, to use the name of a rock band, Built to Spill. I wonder how the double hull jobs have helped.

Shell's hubris here was the big catch, yes. $7 million bucks to develop the tech, woah. All of the numbers in the story are quite quaint if you're familiar with what we're doing with offshore drilling.

The Trieste was a Swiss-designed, Italian-built deep-diving research bathyscaphe ("deep boat") with a crew of two, which reached a record maximum depth of about 10,911 metres (35,797 ft), in the deepest known part of the ocean on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench near Guam, on January 23, 1960.
Source Wikipedia

Note: this occurred only a little more than two years before >;^)

Not much help from Kashagan

from link in header

KazMunaiGas President Kairgeldy Kabyldin, who was quoted last week by local news agencies as saying the project's second phase was likely to be postponed until 2018 or 2019.

... first production was due by the end of 2012 and output in 2013 would be around 50,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Visor Capital brokerage said production during Kashagan's first phase is expected to reach about 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) shortly after launch, before rising to 450,000 bpd.

The second phase will raise production to around 1 million bpd and, after a third phase, peak production is expected to be around 1.5 million bpd, it said.


Re: Herman Daly: Opportunity Cost of Growth

Surely economists have thought about such simple and basic questions as, Can the economy be too big in its physical dimensions relative to the ecosystem? And, Are the marginal costs of growth now larger than the marginal benefits? Surely economists have good answers to these obvious questions! Well, dear reader, I invite you to ask these questions to your favorite economics professor or pundit. If you get reasonable answers, please share them with me. If you get a lot of obfuscation, consider telling the economist to go to hell. Be open to learn – but also be prepared to show some disrespect when it is deserved!


Off Topic:

I just got this email from "The Union of Concerned Scientists." I wonder if the Staff and readers of The Oil Drum might be interested in contacting them in order to educate them as to why their proposals are not a realistic. Actually I found it quite depressing to read their proposal for action. If these are scientist who should be rational and not delusional thinkers, than what hope do we have that policy makers understand where we are and where we might be going.

Dear,... We Need Your Help
You can help end America's dangerous addiction to oil and create a more sustainable future for ourselves and our children by supporting our National Oil Savings Plan.

Become a Member--click here.

I’m sure that like me, you are heart-broken by the unfolding disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and angered at BP’s inability to quickly stop the gushing oil.

But plugging the Deepwater Horizon well won’t solve the bigger problem of which the BP disaster is only one symptom: our nation’s debilitating addiction to oil.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is urging President Obama, members of Congress, and policy makers throughout government to immediately implement our National Oil Savings Plan—a set of practical solutions, based on sound science and existing and emerging technologies, that has the potential to cut our projected oil demand for 2030 in half!

But we can’t truly transform America’s energy policies without your help. Support our National Oil Savings Plan and help create a more sustainable future for ourselves and for our children—become a member today.

In the face of public outrage over this unthinkable environmental disaster, Big Oil continues to wield enormous influence over U.S. energy policy, benefitting from multi-billion-dollar tax breaks and lax regulation of drilling operations.

But with your help, I’m confident this is a fight we can win. More important, it’s a fight we must win, or our country and our children will continue to witness the disastrous impacts of America’s oil dependence. Please become a member today.

With your support, UCS will work to:

* Double fuel economy standards for new cars and light trucks through 2025 and establish first-of-a-kind standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles like tractor trailers and buses;
* Create the right incentives and infrastructure to support a substantial increase in plug-in hybrid, battery, and fuel-cell electric vehicles; and
* Increase investments in and production of advanced biofuels that don’t require clearing land or diverting food products like corn to energy production.

Technologies to get the job done already exist. What’s needed now is the political will to stand up to Big Oil and break America’s addiction to dirty fossil fuels.

That’s where you come in, and why I’m urging you to become a member today.

With your support, we can turn up the heat on politicians to end our dangerous dependence on dirty oil.
Kevin Knobloch Sincerely,
Kevin Knobloch
Kevin Knobloch

P.S. The extraordinary scope of the BP oil disaster demands an extraordinary response. Getting mad at oil company executives, while justified and cathartic, won’t be good enough. Thank you, in advance, for putting your anger into action by becoming a member today.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world.
Union of Concerned Scientists, 2 Brattle Square Cambridge, MA 02138
phone: 800-666-8276 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 800-666-8276 end_of_the_skype_highlighting | Fax: 617-864-9405 | ucsaction@ucsusa.org | www.ucsusa.org

FM... I like this guy's approach instead. Guest essay True Confessions (on Liberty and the Republic) by Eric Andrews on OfTwoMinds.com blog.


The answer to this, the single problem of the Republic is perfectly simple: move the power from the Central Government as far down to the people as possible. The vultures wouldn’t circle if there weren’t a big pot of money sitting all in one place. Take away the money-pile and push it back to the States, the Counties, and the People and there becomes no point in Lobbying Congress for anything. They’d have to shift focus to 50 States, to 10,000 town council meetings until it’s no longer worth the effort to lobby so many for so little. This is why they push for ever-increasing Centralization, of national power, of money and business, and International Agencies like the UN, IMF, or EU: one set of people to bribe and capture, and the fewer the better. Profits are higher that way.

Best thing about this plan? It’s already the law.

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” --10th Amendment

What "The Union of Concerned Scientists" seem to think is that we need, yet another, organization to help us do for ourselves what we seemingly cannot. Oh, and send money please. More from the essay:

I thought the Federal Government, the concentration of money, power, and influence was the problem. So why do we look to the Federal Government for the answer? Not only do they not have the answer, they are specifically prohibited by the Constitution from acting on almost any problem you can name. That’s YOUR job, people. YOU are supposed to fix the stuff you want fixed. That’s called “Liberty”, the poor lady who’s been banished from our coins and now all but banished from society. “Liberty” is Freedom, but with the addition of restraint not to hurt others, and responsibility to work and do what must be done.

I particularly liked his distinction between Freedom and Democracy versus Liberty and Republic.

America was not founded on Freedom and Democracy: America was founded on Liberty and Republic. Freedom is when the strongest do whatever they want unless you have the power to stop them; Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner. Liberty demands the strongest are restrained by justice and due process, and Republic restrains the 51% from doing whatever they like to the other 49%. I regret to say that presently Freedom and Democracy have free reign in the United States: Freedom for the Strong to do whatever they please, and for any privileged group to vote to themselves the rights and property of anyone who can‘t defend themselves.

I'm just saying...

Just so, Edgy,

I call myself a true conservative (most emphatically not a current day republican ! ) for several reasons, one of the biggest being that current day liberalism is addicted to the big govt koolaid.

This does not mean that we shouldn't have tough environmental laws or any sort of the hogwash liberals often use to tar conservatives;freedom to wave your fist around does not extend to hitting somebody's nose.Clean air is nobody's property in the sense of real estate or stocks, to be disposed of or used to personal ends or advantage;polluting it is bloodying EVERYBODY'S NOSE.

Hence a true conservative will agree that clean air laws are justified, as there seems to be no other reasonable and effective way of preventing air pollution.

The military industrial complex is an unavoidable (in my opinion) un desirable and originally mostly unanticipated fruit of the union of voter "gimme!" and govt"elect me!"

Once the big govt meme is established, it just keeps on spinning off new programs like a malignant metasticizing tumor.

Nobody gets what they want in American politics without cutting the big deal;the left and right wings are too evenly matched, historically, for the last century.

The left has gotten a good portion of the welfare state it wants, and the right has gotten most of the military industrial complex it wants.

Enough of each wing votes to support the other wing often enough for this to be our reality.

For instance while it is true that Reagen busted the budget process, he could never have done it without the help of a rather large portion of the Democratic party.We hear about Reagen and his budgets often, but seldom do you hear Tip O Neill mentioned during such rants.

It is also true that the real garden of giant magical govt beans was planted farther back;Reagen only hoed and fertilized and watered it, but that's a rant for another day.

Pitt data on oil and gas leases gauges local Marcellus Shale activity since 2003

As Marcellus Shale activity sweeps Western Pennsylvania, a new University of Pittsburgh database reveals that approximately 7 percent of Allegheny County's land has been leased for drilling and extraction since 2003. In addition, the number of properties in the county leased for oil and gas exploration increased by 322 percent between 2008 and 2009.

Researchers in Pitt's University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR) used leases filed with the Allegheny County Department of Real Estate to create an interactive map of the more than 2,000 parcels in Allegheny County leased for oil and gas exploration between 2003 and May 2010. The map also indicates the people or companies that bought the leases. The map is available on UCSUR's Web site at through the Pittsburgh Urban Blog, or the PUB, a new service established by UCSUR to make research on regional statistics and trends readily available. It was created by the Pittsburgh Neighborhood and Community Information System (PNCIS), Pitt's online database of statistical maps.

If you build it, will they walk to school?

An individual's decision to walk to school is actually quite complex. It is influenced-perhaps-by distance and an attractive walkable environment, but also by intertwined social, psychological and environmental perceptions that sometimes differ between parent and child.

Re. the NYT article Out of Bounds and Out of Reach up top about the use of digital devices and technologies -

I think most TODers know I live in the boondocks. Yesterday we drove to the nearest city (60 miles one way) with several stores to look for carpeting. I spend 98% of my time up here in the hills and it never ceases to amaze me how different my day to day reality is compared to the people in the story and the people where we went.

We don't get broadcast/satellite TV although we do watch a video or DVD for about 30 minutes after dinner. We do have cell phones for emergencies but never leave them on or "look for messages." In my plan I get 10 minutes a month. I'm not big on email so I mostly call people on our landline phone. We don't take vacations or go out to eat and all that kind of stuff.

Mostly I'm doing stuff outside with, maybe, 1-2 hours a day of looking at news on the Internet. But, it's all serene without interruptions. I don't multitask. When I'm done with this post I'll put some water on the strawberries since it's hot again. But, I won't be holding my Blackberry in one hand and the hose in the other.

I don't understand why people believe they have to live the way they do.

As an aside, the traffic was heavy on the main state roads even where I live. Guess it's no problemo as far as gas goes.


PS Here's my kind of reality...when I go back from town with the mail, there was a ground squriel in the garden. So, I went intoo our house, got the 12ga, walked out the back door and shot it. I don't think suburban/city people would go for this.

Hi Todd,

My Blackberry is my constant workday companion and I can't imagine life without it, but after 17h00 it sits quietly in its holster and doesn't see the light of day until the following morning. I'm self employed, so it's difficult to separate personal and professional time, but you do what you have to do. Certainly life here on the east coast is less stressful than when I lived and worked in Toronto, although I'm probably working twice as hard now as I did then.


You used a 12ga on a squirrel? If you spot a deer to you hop in your M1A1 Abrams?

Back woods boys like the one-shot-one-kill approach to pest control. Then, there's the creative approach...

E. Swanson

That was great! Unfortunately, my "squirrels" are ground squirrels who live in tunnels underground and make a big pile of rocks and dirt by their burrows. Aside from eating my garden, they also attract rattlesnakes and can carry plague although it hasn't happened around here.


Edit to add...Let's look at my actual choices, i.e., stuff I have on hand: Havaheart traps, snares, Conibear traps, poison bait, high power 177 pellet rifle, 22LR (bullet or shot shells), 12ga (from bird shot to slugs), 30-30 and 308. On pests the aim is to kill them right now. This isn't target practice since you may never have a similar chance. Also, you want a clean kill. I don't want an animal to suffer because I just wounded it. In this case I used a 6 shot, 12ga shell.

That was great! Unfortunately, my "squirrels" are ground squirrels who live in tunnels underground and make a big pile of rocks and dirt by their burrows.

Where I come from ground squirrels (of the 13-line variety) never make piles of rocks or dirt around their burrow. That's the hallmark of a gopher. I only say this because people usually make the reverse mistake and call a ground squirrel a gopher. Sorry if this is too anal but as kids we used to pride ourselves in keeping track of these distinctions :)


Sorry but in the west we have not only gophers and moles but also ground squirrels. FWIW, I have a pesticide applicator's license. I know the difference. What is especially bad about GS' is that unlike gophers and moles, they leave a very large, open entry hole (along with escape holes) that can cause a cow or horse to break or hurt their leg.

Fortunately, we have a couple of bobcats around and they have knocked down the population quite a bit.

Hey, and just to throw in one last thing, we also have rabid skunks. Shot one behind the house last year...w/ the 30-30 so there wouldn't be so much blood around to disinfect. For those who care, you use household bleach. And, unlike most things I kill, I bury rabid skunks.


No way. Thirteen-lined ground squirrels leave an immaculate perfectly circular hole about four inches in diameter.

In the midwest prairie dog holes and gopher holes are the ones that cows have to worry about. I have never heard of ground squirrel holes causing injuries.

Way. This is California.

Burrow entrances in school playgrounds, parks and other recreational areas are responsible for debilitating falls, occasionally resulting in sprained or broken ankles or limbs. Burrows in horse exercising or jumping arenas or on equestrian trails can cause serious injuries to horses and to their riders if thrown.

Thirteen-lined ground squirrels are dainty things compared to those described in your link.

Ain't regional variation grand?

The beautiful thing about a shotgun is that it is good for everything from a rat or starling-loaded with a lightly charged load of small "birdshot" right on up to a grizzly bear-loaded with fully charged slugs or double or triple ought buckshot -if your are willing to give the bear a fighting chance.

A friend of mine killed a humongous black bear with his rabbit gun while deer hunting last year with a single shot at about thirty yards when the bear ambled by;it dropped in it's tracks.Bears are getting to be very common around here, and I hope to get the one destroying beehives around in the nieghborhood myself as soon as the weather cools off.The flies will get it if somebody shoots in sooner.It's a whopper,but as i will be very close most likely if I see it at all, I'm going to hunt it with the shotgun, even though I have a perfectly good scoped 30 ought six- very good for deer at the far ends of large fields or from ridge to ridge across small valleys.

My "heavy duty" (magnum)twelve gauge has about as much muzzle energy as anything short of an honest to god elephant gun, but I can and do hunt rabbits for the table with it during deer season.I put a slug or buckshot cartridge in the chamber for deer, but if a rabbit jumps up, I just shuck the buckshot or slug and (hopefully) bag the rabbit with the second cartridge, which is a small game load.

Scattergun "shells" are expensive compared to twenty two ammo, but you don't use a shell on a rat or squirrel very often.

The other four primary advantages of a twelve gauge are:

one, the ammo is universally available;

two,loaded with small shot the gun is only dangerous at short ranges, usually much less than a hundred yards, making it safer as a defensive weapon if you ever have to use it where there are possible bystanders or other unintended targets;rifles are dangerous at far longer ranges,even out to as much as a couple of miles or even farther in some cases.pistols can be dangerous past a half a mile.

three, shotguns are EXTREMELY lethal at very close ranges, comparable even to a REAL assault rifle-one capable of fully automatic machine gun fire.If you ever have to shoot an intruder inside your home , even with birdshot,he is going down with one shot unless he is wearing armor.

and four, close generally DOES count with a shotgun;an inch is as good (bad)as a mile if you miss with a rifle or pistol, but with a shotgun if your point of aim is off a foot or a foot and a half at a hundred fifty feet, you still get your rabbit.

To make a long story short, if you can afford ONLY ONE gun,it probably should be a twelve gauge shotgun.

this past week end I stocked up on Seeds and Ammo ... my shotgun is a 20 gauge but I am thinking I would like one of these ...

"The beautiful thing about a shotgun is that it is good for everything from a rat.."
Uh, exactly what are you saying here? I do have my 12 gauge and some slugs, if that's what you mean. I have them in case you meant something else, too.


Rat eats, shoots, and leaves.

Mr Wharf Rat,

I do most humbly beg your pardon;you may rest assured that I hold both you and your extended family in the highest esteem (so long as you stay away from MY storage sheds! ) . Fences and shotguns(and in the case of rats, hardware cloth) make for good nieghbors . ;)

And as a practical matter, we should all remember that while god made some big and some small, Colonel Colt equalized us all.

An armed society tends to be a polite society. :)

Thanks, Mac

I think I'm too blind for Colonel Colt to help. Shotguns are more like mousies... point and click.

According to zFacts.com, the US Federal debt will cross the $13.4 trillion threshold in 3 hours. At this rate, the Federal debt will reach the $14 trillion level around December 31,2010.

Well now, just who is responsible for this carnage? With a little bit of work we see:

US National Debt - Constant $

Notice that the debt really took off about 1982 under Reagan and Bush 41, then slowed and even declined a bit under Clinton, then took off again under Bush 43. The last data point is fiscal 2009, Bush 43's last budget as the financial meltdown kicked in. I wonder if that message is one which you want to hear...

E. Swanson

The article points out how the super rich have benefited from the economy while the professional, middle class, and poorer have fared 10 x less in the last decade. No doubt that is why the rich want the focus to be on Social Security cuts. We should be taxing the super rich (earning more than $1 million a year?)at a higher rate and try to level the playing field if reducing the National debt is a goal.

Nice chart, however, remember that Congress decides on the budget and expenditures, not the President. During Clintons lower debt, Republicans were in power in Congress. During the last several years Democrats have been in charge in Congress. We all know that Democrats spend more on more programs than Republicans.

"Deficits don't matter" Republican VP Dick Cheney said as the deficit doubled to $12 trillion under his leadership. Can't blame Democrats for that and I don't recall any Republicans that objected to Cheney's and the administrations deficit policies except Ron Paul.

There was one other Republican who spoke out against deficit spending and irresponsible spending.

(Paul)O'Neill was appointed Secretary of the Treasury by George W. Bush. O'Neill was a somewhat outspoken member of the administration, often saying things to the press that went against the administration's party line...

A report commissioned in 2002 by O'Neill, while he was Treasury Secretary, suggested the United States faced future federal budget deficits of more than US$ 500 billion. The report also suggested that sharp tax increases, massive spending cuts, or both would be unavoidable if the United States were to meet benefit promises to its future generations. The study estimated that closing the budget gap would require the equivalent of an immediate and permanent 66 percent across-the-board income tax increase. The Bush administration left the findings out of the 2004 annual budget report published in February 2003.[citation needed]

O'Neill's private feuds with Bush's tax cut policies and his push to further investigate alleged al-Qaeda funding from some American-allied countries, as well as his objection to the invasion of Iraq in the name of the war on terror — that he considered as nothing but a simple excuse for a war decided long before by neoconservative elements of the first Bush Administration — led to his resignation in 2002 and replacement with John W. Snow.(wikipedia)

Bush is water under the bridge though... we can only move forward from this point, so Repubs and Dems stop pointing freaking fingers at each other and stop the spending, military and domestic!

Bush is water under the bridge though...

Ah, isn't that sweet. I can't stand that 'out' the repubs take on things they screw up - its all under the bridge - let's move on together - stop arguing - ah, isn't it all sweet now we are all in this together. Barf!!! Take responsibility for a change!

The President sends a budget proposal to the House for consideration. Reagan's plan included large increases in the defense budget as well as tax cuts, which started the debt ball rolling downhill. Regan had a rather strong showing at the polls, thanks to John Anderson's spoiler campaign, receiving 489 electoral votes to Carter's 41, an apparent rout. The Senate gained a Republican majority with 53 seats and the Republicans picked up 34 seats in the House. Thus, Reagan appeared to have a "mandate" so Congress did not oppose him. Also, there was considerable worry about the economy at the time and Reagan claimed to offer a better way with "Supply Side" economic stimulus...

E. Swanson

The Republicans were still in control of both houses of congress for most of G.W Bush's Presidency.
What happened to their "fiscal responsibility" then?

Face it. There are no conservatives in Washington D.C., only panhandlers.

There ARE a COUPLE of conservatives in DC,and a handful of liberals too, for that matter, but your comment about "only panhanbdlers" is more than close enough to the truth.

An abrupt stop to our oil supply would mean no transportation, mass chaos, hunger and death. Imagine our cars, trucks, buses, trains and planes not moving for one month.

Imagine our cars, trucks, buses, trains and planes not moving for one month.

Can easily imagine this. It would be a lot quieter, and for once the roads might be safe for those of us who eschew private automobiles and who walk or bicycle instead.

The $64K question is the matter of how fast the world goes from 85mbd to half that, half again, and half yet again.

It would be a lot quieter, and for once the roads might be safe for those of us who eschew private automobiles and who walk or bicycle instead.

But what would you eat? Hard to be a hunter & collector on a bicycle ...

newman,---- NO problem, that is only around 150K $ per family, add on an equal amount for home mortgage, then credit card debt, so they only owe 1/3 million dollars. NO problem, the minimum wage can be raised to cover that, or we can get it from China. The young folks see it, they are screwed, blued and tattooed.

NSP applies for 6.5 per cent rate increase
Increase would be seventh in 8 years for homeowners

Nova Scotia homeowners are facing their sixth power rate increase in nine years after Nova Scotia Power applied to government regulators on Monday to hike rates 6.5 per cent.

The hike will cost 440,000 households an extra $13.35 per two-month billing period. The average residential customer has an average bimonthly bill of $244.08, according to a Nova Scotia Power release.

The utility is also seeking rate increases of 8.6 per cent for commercial customers and the industrial customers 11.3 per cent.

See: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Front/9017564.html

Our electricity rates have been steadily creeping upward -- we paid 8.35-cents per kWh back in 2002 and now it's 11.805-cents including the energy efficiency surcharge, so a 6.5 per cent increase would bump us up to 12.57-cents, if approved in full. Still low by New England standards but higher than any other province in Canada with the exception of Prince Edward Island. The next few years should see some fairly hefty hikes as we transition away from coal. Not welcome news for those with already strained budgets, but that's the new reality we face. One minor consolation: higher commercial and industrial rates will make my job a little easier.


Our utility has been very aggressive in going for rate increases , and gotten them for the most part, over the last six or seven years.

Some were justified, of course, but some were simply cost shifting to us so they could sell cheaper in other markets.

I have spent a great deal of time recently trying to fathom what policies will be put into place as fuel supplies dry up and the economy continues to deteriorate-which seems to be inevitable!

One thing that seems virtually certain to come about is a series of luxury taxes;and things that have never been considered luxuries are going to be redefined, including electrical consumption above certain levels.

This would seem to be counter intuitive , but of course the level will be set to "soak the rich" with the consumption tax kicking in comfortably above the typical voters monthly usage-at first of course!

Somebody in a position to know, maybe OBama himself, said that the internet put him in the White House.We haven't seen anything yet in terms of what it is going to do to american politics.

I expect there is going to be a very powerful surge in populist sentiment, and the choice is going to be between uncontrollable riots and a new welfare state the likes of which nobody has yet seriously contemplated ,at least in the US.

Every kid almost has a cell phone these days, and everybody can communicate to thier hearts content.Even old fogeys such as myself blog and email-I get fifty a day above and beyond the spam that leaks thru-nearly all of them of no consequence, just family chatter, of course-but that can change overnight.

People who have given up thier cars ,cable tv, and houses seem to be hanging onto that phone-and of course phones can be shared.

Let us imagine for a minute that in your town a simple text message goes viral-Joe Sixpack, long time local citizen, is running for city council, and his platform consists of socialized medicine,subsidized rent, rent control, a ten dollar limit on bounced check charges,and a couple of other goodies along that line-plus a teaser that some formerly hot band is going to show up art his permitted political gathering-price of admission proof of voter registration!

Joe is shortly gonna be in charge in a lot of places.

Back to electricity-between real increases in dollar denominated expenses and increased utility taxes, I expect my electricity cost to double at least in simple dollar terms within seven to ten years-and that is if I'm lucky!

After the solar hot water system is finished, I suppose the next thing for me is to get the domestic water switched over to the gravity fed supply from the spring currently used for farm work only-doing this will involve enclosing the spring, which is potable but exposed ;the dogs often jump in to cool off.The well pump consumes very little juice, but if the power goes off off for a a day or a week a few times.....


I remember from a long time back that certain states regulate how much water you can use from a spring if the flow naturally leaves your property. New Jersey required a neighbors Bottled Spring Water company to limit their usage to only that amount that exceeded their required minimum free flow. Became problematic during low flow periods; they were forced to install a large stainless steel holding tank $$ (Board of Health mandated its design). This was a very visible case; your case may not be noticed.

So far as I know, we have never had any legal issues arise here in the mountians in respect to removing water from streams on farms or residential lots for domestic use-I suppose this is so simply because this locality is blessed with numerous small streams and lots of larger ones, such that downstream nieghbors are seldom if ever left without adequate quantities even during extended dry weather.

The situation is different in respect to towns and industry of course-some streams and rivers are heavily utilized once the water gets out of the ridges and hollows and down into the piedmont.


I don't think most folks fully appreciate the potential upward pressure on electricity rates going forward. I can well imagine local rates doubling within the next ten years. I'm working hard to limit our household consumption and thereby our exposure, so I don't weigh various options according to current prices, but rather what I anticipate to pay two, three, five and ten years from now.

Best of luck with your new solar system. Again, I'm looking forward to hearing more about it as things move along.